On 12 November youth groups from around the capital (and a few rebels who travelled from Newcastle) met in Westminster Chapel for a day of worship, fellowship and teaching at Sorted.
This is an annual youth event hosted by Capital Youthworks, a network of Christian youth workers in and around London. The theme for the day was ‘Not Ashamed’, which is extremely relevant, as young people are constantly branded, stereotyped and mocked for being Christians, making it harder to speak out.
Living for Jesus in schools, work and university is challenging, but the day was designed to encourage and inspire us, which it did.
I came with three other girls and our youth leader, and we were outnumbered by more than 1000 others, although this did make for an epic Mexican wave during the lunch break.
The day was split into three talks on Romans 1 from Mike Tindall (not the rugby player, the youth leader). The first was called ‘The bad news’. Gulp!
This focused on God’s wrath, not something most teenagers signed up for that early in the morning. However, it was enlightening learning about how God gives people over to what they want, so they are enslaved to sin — a perspective I had never really thought about. We learned God’s wrath is not just for the last days, but is being revealed now through a cycle of the three Rs: Revelation, Rejection and (W)rath.
The second talk was entitled ‘The good news’. Hurrah! The verse for the day was Romans 1:16: ‘For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes’.
We were reminded of God’s power, an obvious but often minimised truth. The reminder that anything we say about the gospel is not just words, but has power behind it to change a human heart, really spoke to me.
After lunch, we had the final talk, ‘Walk tall’. The opening question of the day — ‘Have you ever been ashamed?’— challenged and reminded us that, as people of Christ, we are called to be distinctive.
The early church was persecuted, threatened with death and did not deny their faith. These were those to whom God was writing and this applies to us as well.
Through these talks, we were encouraged to stand up for Jesus in school. Personally, after suffering mocking for my faith, including when I was sponsoring Open Doors in its ‘Blackout’ campaign the weekend before the event, to hear these talks was extremely uplifting.
At lunch, there was an opportunity to go to seminars, learn new songs, and visit the stands in the back halls. Unfortunately I was eating and missed the start of the seminar I wanted to go to, so spent most of my lunch visiting the stands in the back halls.
These included missionary opportunities such as beach missions and overseas Christian holiday retreats. There were also people on stands ready to discuss things, such as quiet times and using your unemployment wisely.
Even if they didn’t necessarily apply to us, we visited most stands, and picked up freebie chocolate, wristbands, CDs and lots of leaflets! It was a great way to learn about these opportunities and how we could serve God in different ways.
In between the talks, we worshipped using a variety of old and new hymns and songs, and learned a new song with the chorus based on Romans 1:16, with a refrain of ‘Wo-ooah! I’m not ashamed’. We certainly were not ashamed singing this on the train back home!
You can hear the talks on the Sorted web site at www.sortedevent.org.uk/talks